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Mayor announces partnership with Capital Regional Land Conservancy, James River Association, Conservation Fund and city to preserve riverfront property for public use

Agreement will provide opportunity to connect Capital Trail; expand recreational use; preserve iconic James River view from Libby Hill Park


Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), in partnership with The Conservation Fund, James River Association and City of Richmond, is honored to announce that it has entered a contract to purchase the properties located at 3011 and 3021 Dock Street in the City of Richmond. CRLC is working with its partners to acquire the 5.207 acres to serve the community in multiple ways. This exciting land acquisition will create one contiguous publicly accessible riverfront space and allow for the completion of the Virginia Capital Trail. It will also expand city-owned parkland in Richmond’s East End and enable the establishment of new river access and environmental education programs.  


Located between Great Shiplock Park and the former Lehigh Cement Co. site, the parcel that CRLC has under contract is the only remaining privately owned parcel along the north bank of the tidal James River in Richmond. Once funding is secured to permanently protect the property from development most of it will be transferred to the City of Richmond. This transfer will help create a riverfront park featuring access to the James River envisioned by the Richmond Riverfront Plan.

“The life of our great city, and the health and welfare of our residents, has always been tied to access to our river and riverfront,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, speaking today at Great Shiplock Park. “After the year we’ve been through, that is as important today as it’s ever been. I’d like to thank our partners at the Capital Region Land Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, the James River Association, and all the organizations and individuals who worked so hard to preserve our city’s iconic views and natural beauty for refuge and recreation by our residents for generations to come.”

By acquiring and protecting the properties at 3011 and 3021 Dock Street, CRLC, The Conservation Fund and the City of Richmond will fulfill one of the most referenced components of the local comprehensive plan over the past 50 years. Specifically, the 2009 Richmond Downtown Plan highlights “preserving existing and historic viewsheds towards the river is essential to connecting the city to the river. Future development along the riverfront needs to be carefully considered so that it will not impact significant historic views such as “the view that named Richmond” from the top of Libby Hill Park.” It is noteworthy that this acquisition comes on the 170th anniversary of the City of Richmond acquiring 7 acres to become Libby Hill Park. It was one of the first five parks in the city and designated by city engineer Wilfred Cutshaw to offer “breathing places” for citizens to take in healthier air.

"For nearly twenty years, Scenic Virginia has advocated for the preservation of The View That Named Richmond through the acquisition of this parcel for parkland," said Scenic Virginia Executive Director Leighton Powell. "Today is the realization of a dream come true, and we and our supporters could not be more thrilled or grateful that the historic view that connects Richmond to its sister city Richmond-Upon-Thames will be protected much in the same way that it has been in England for more than a century."

CRLC has received support for the purchase of the riverfront parcel from The Conservation Fund and James River Association.CRLC is receiving financial and logistics support from The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit organization that specializes in working with local partners to protect land and water resources. The James River Association, a local member-supported nonprofit organization, has also pledged its support for CRLC’s acquisition of the parcel as a financial partner.

“The Conservation Fund is pleased to be partnering with CRLC to protect this critical piece of riverfront in downtown Richmond,” said Heather Richards, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for The Conservation Fund.  “Increasing access to the James River and making trail connections for urban centers has never been more important, as we’ve seen over the past year.  This new parkland will serve the needs of so many Virginians and expand the vital connection between Richmond’s residents and the River.”

“The James River Association is a proud financial partner in the purchase of these five acres along the James River in the City of Richmond," said Bill Street, Chief Executive Officer of the James River Association. "The riverfront parcel has great potential to provide needed access to the James River for outdoor recreation and environmental education experiences in Richmond's East End."

The closing date is scheduled for late Summer 2021. While some funding has been committed and grant writing and fundraising continues, CRLC and The Conservation Fund are seeking the public’s support to raise the capital needed to complete the acquisition in August and transfer the property to the City as soon as possible. Per the terms of the purchase and sales agreement with the seller USP Echo Harbor LLC, the purchase price cannot be made public at this time. It is however based on a fair-market appraisal of the property for its highest and best use.

CRLC intends to coordinate with the City of Richmond to conduct community engagement opportunities to envision uses of the future public open space and park. Community engagement will be conducted in close coordination with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and will include local stakeholders, community organizations, and the general public.

“Not only are we proud to be adding additional park and open space lands to the serve the many residents and visitors of the Richmond region,” said CRLC’s Executive Director Parker C. Agelasto, “we are honored that this project is filling a critical need within the Riverfront Plan as well as protecting the incredible views from Libby Hill that have been part of a defining landscape for the region over many centuries.”


The USP Echo Harbor property had historically been Richmond’s busiest port prior to the expansion to Intermediate Terminal and relocation in 1940 to the Port of Richmond off Deepwater Terminal Road. In 2013, the City approved a plan of development containing more than 1,000,000 square feet in a nine (9) story building. Advocates for the Libby Hill Viewshed had expressed great concern that such intense development would irrevocably harm the “View that Named Richmond.”         

In 2012, the City purchased the 1.5-acre Lehigh Cement Co. property for $2 million in order to expand public access to the James River and complete the Virginia Capital Trail prior to the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. The 2001 Richmond Master Plan stipulated that the City should endeavor to “acquire underutilized industrial, institutional or commercial property to provide additional public access to the James River. Any lands acquired should be carefully selected to minimize conflicts between adjacent land uses and new public usage. Do not promote the taking of private property to achieve greater public river access.”

The 2012 Richmond Riverfront Plan seeks to “improve visual and physical access to the river. In addition to creating new view corridors to the James River, preserving existing and historic viewsheds towards the river is essential to connecting the city to the river. Future development along the riverfront needs to be carefully considered so that it will not impact significant historic views such as ‘the view that named Richmond’ from the top of Libby Hill Park.”


Most recently, the newest citywide master plan Richmond 300 looks to “reserve appropriate riverfront and canal-facing sites for public amenities and river-related development such as boating services, picnics, etc.” Such will be the case of the 5.2 acres being acquired by Capital Region Land Conservancy.

About Capital Region Land Conservancy:

Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC) is dedicated to the conservation and protection of the natural and historic land and water resources of Virginia’s Capital Region for the benefit of current and future generations. As a nationally accredited land trust, CRLC is the only organization devoted specifically to conservation within the Counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan as well as the Town of Ashland and City of Richmond. We are proud to have conserved more than 12,000 acres of land in this special region. For more information, visit

About The Conservation Fund:

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect 8.5 million acres of land, including nearly 79,000 acres in Virginia. For more information, visit

About James River Association: 

The James River Association is a member-supported nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to serve as a guardian and voice for the James River. Throughout the James River’s 10,000-square mile watershed, the James River Association works toward its vision of a fully healthy James River supporting thriving communities. The James River Association believes that “when you change the James, the James changes you”. With offices in Lynchburg, Richmond, Williamsburg, and Scottsville, the James River Association is committed to protecting the James River and connecting people to it. For more information, visit

Mayor appoints new Director of Housing and Community Development, creates Homeless Services Liaison position

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the hiring of a new Director of Housing and Community Development as well as the appointment of a Homeless Services Liaison for the City of Richmond.

Longtime affordable housing and community development professional Sherrill Hampton will serve as Director of Housing and Community Development. 

Dianne Wilmore, the Community Service Manager at the North Avenue Branch of the Richmond Public Library, will assume the role of Homeless Services Liaison.

“Affordable housing and homelessness are two of the most critical issues facing American cities, and the City of Richmond is no exception,” said Mayor Stoney. “The need for experienced and caring individuals to address these issues has only been heightened by the pandemic, and that’s why I’m grateful to have two highly qualified public servants joining our team in this effort.”

Ms. Hampton has more than 25 years of experience in the affordable housing and community development arenas, and has worked in senior management roles in non-profit, governmental, and educational sectors. 

She holds a BS in Social Science from Claflin University and a JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

“As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic facing an affordable housing crisis not seen before in the city, I am confident that Ms. Hampton’s experience in financing and real estate development along with community outreach and engagement is the right mix of knowledge and skill sets to lead us forward with the implementation of One Richmond: An Equitable Affordable Housing Plan,” said Sharon Ebert, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Economic Development.

In her role as Homeless Services Liaison, Ms. Wilmore will to streamline communication and manage the flow of information with the city administration and City Council with regard to homeless services in the region.

Ms. Wilmore is a former Case Manager for the Salvation Army Women’s Shelter in Cleveland and served as a Community Services and Outreach Manager in the East Cleveland Public Library system for 12 years. She is a graduate of the University of Akron.

In addition to her role as liaison, Ms. Wilmore will continue to serve as community service manager at the North Avenue branch, where she has served for seven years. She will report to Reggie Gordon, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services.

“In Diane, we have selected a talented city employee who will take on the additional responsibility of being the primary point person for questions and coordination regarding homeless services,” said Gordon. “Her passion for those in our community who are in a housing crisis will form the basis of a strong partnership with all stakeholders in the homeless services system.”

Council leadership was encouraged by the mayor’s moves to further solidify and coordinate the city’s response to the housing issue.

“These are two steps that our city needed to ensure that the work currently underway in affordable housing and homelessness services is an ongoing priority with the right leaders at the helm,” said Council President Cynthia Newbille. “I look forward to working with Ms. Hampton and Ms. Wilmore to secure support for Richmonders along the entire pipeline of need, from homeless services to transitional housing to permanent residence.”

“We need to be engaged and proactive as a city in our approach to helping our most vulnerable residents secure housing that is both affordable and sustainable,” said City Council Vice President Ellen Robertson. “Finding the right candidate to assume the Housing and Community Development Director role and dedicating a point person in our city to coordinate homelessness services and outreach with our local partners and regional caregivers will significantly improve our ability to make a difference in the community.”


Mayor Stoney presents FY22 proposed budget

Today, Mayor Levar M. Stoney and administration leadership presented the proposed FY22 budget to Richmond City Council. Despite municipal revenues projected to be nearly $18.5 million less than revenues in last year’s FY21 proposed budget (when excluding one-time funding sources from both fiscal years), the $770.3 million proposal is balanced, with expenses in line with current revenue projections.
“The difficult decisions we had to make reflect the extraordinarily challenging economic times we’re in, and while this budget is limited in its ability to provide for new programming, it does protect the work we’ve started to make our city more equitable,” said Mayor Stoney. “Facing the need to do more with significantly less challenged us to look even more closely at how we can allocate the resources we have to produce better results for Richmonders.”
With proposed utility rate increases, the average customer will see a $5.27 increase in their monthly utility bill. This increase in utility rates will fund more than $3 million in infrastructure improvements to address flooding in key areas, particularly Southside.
However, the budget as proposed contains no increases in real estate, personal property or other general taxes.
The proposed Operating Budget and FY22-26 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) include the following key investments (the list is not exhaustive):
Transit, Mobility and Transportation

  • $8 million to the Greater Richmond Transit Company;
  • $33.5 million in investments in sidewalk maintenance and construction, paving, new bike lanes and bridge maintenance, and other transportation related improvements in addition to an anticipated $16.7 million from the Central Virginia Transportation Authority;
  • $2.5 million specifically for new sidewalk construction (up from $900,000 in FY21) as well as an increase in the number of sidewalk crews in the Department of Public Works;

Housing Affordability and Security

  • $2.9 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (level-funding from last year);
  • $485,000 to the Eviction Diversion Program (level-funding from last year);

Equity and Community Safety

  • $1.1 million in operational funding to the Department of Emergency Communications to establish the Marcus Alert (as supported by community advocates and members of the Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety);
  • $28 million for the Enslaved African Heritage Campus in the FY22-26 CIP;
  • Funding for a Community Safety Coordinator, the city’s point person for implementing a gun-violence prevention framework, coordinating services for Richmonders experiencing homelessness and working with residents to address other community safety concerns;
  • Creation of the Office of Engagement under the Department of Citizen Service and Response;
  • Creation of the Office of Equity and Inclusion under the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services;

Children and Families

  • $187 million to Richmond Public Schools, fully funding the school system’s operational funding request (constitutes a $6.4 million increase when excluding RPS’ use of one-time funding in FY21);
  • $200 million for school modernization in FY24, including funding for a new George Wythe High School;

Good Governance

  • Full funding, in the FY22-26 CIP, to complete the renovation and expansion of the Southside Community Services Center;
  • A two-step salary increase for sworn police officers and firefighters;
  • An hourly wage increase for city employees making $12.07/hour to $13/hour; and
  • Nearly $6 million in the general fund to implement the recommendations of the Gallagher Class and Compensation Study, which found that many city employees make significantly less than their mid-range salaries compared to market rates.

In favor of implementing the recommendations of the Gallagher Class and Compensation Study, Mayor Stoney appealed to service quality and consistency: “The fact is, we will not achieve service improvement goals if we do not stabilize the attrition rate in the city workforce or if we cannot competitively recruit.”
He also shared that the creation of a pandemic-era budget resulted in the adoption of multiple municipal best practices, including increasing the transparency and accountability of the budgeting process. In the budget document, the Richmond City Council will be able to view a list of frozen and funded positions per department, tying the funded positions to specific city needs and functions. In order to balance the budget, the administration has decided to freeze an additional 150 positions, compared to last year’s budget.
The Mayor closed on a positive note, stating, “Whether times are lean or prosperous, I want you to know that I will continue to be bold and embrace the challenges before us.”
“We will take the actions required to remove barriers to opportunity and ensure our city can recover the right way.”
Interested parties will be able to learn more about the budget, read the mayor’s remarks and watch the presentation here.


Mayor Stoney introduces draft Equity Agenda, invites public feedback

At his weekly briefing today, Mayor Stoney introduced the city’s draft Equity Agenda, a foundational document that will serve as the roadmap toward a more inclusive and thriving Richmond.
The Equity Agenda offers the city’s definition of equity: the empowerment of communities that have experienced past injustices by removing barriers to access and opportunity. It also acknowledges the harms perpetrated against people of color and other persecuted groups by city government in years past.
“Unity cannot come without healing, and healing cannot come without action,” said Mayor Stoney. “This document acknowledges the immense pain the city has caused people of color throughout the course of Richmond’s history, but it also lays the groundwork for the action needed to truly recover from that trauma.”
The agenda is comprised of ten broad goals, policy buckets that contain more detailed plans for the city’s future:

  1. Addressing and Preventing Health Disparities
  2. Housing as a Vaccine for Poverty
  3. Ensuring Equitable Transit and Mobility for Residents
  4. Building Community Wealth to Combat Inequity
  5. Supporting and Caring for our Children and Families
  6. Creating Equitable Climate Action and Resilience
  7. Reimagining Public Safety
  8. Telling the Real History of Richmond
  9. Strengthening Community Engagement and Trust
  10. Utilizing Economic Development to Create Economic Justice

Residents can visit to learn about recent city initiatives to advance equity and objectives for the future.
Mayor Stoney also invited residents to offer feedback on the draft Equity Agenda.
“Before we introduce this as a resolution before Richmond City Council, I want to ensure it reflect the city’s vision – that includes yours,” said the mayor.
Through March 21, City of Richmond residents can directly comment on the document at The Office of Community Wealth Building Community Ambassadors will safely solicit in person feedback through their Community Connectors program.
City staff will collate and analyze all comments and questions, draw on common themes, and incorporate the feedback. Not every comment will be reflected word for word in the final Equity Agenda.
After the close of the community engagement period, the Equity Agenda will be introduced as a resolution to Richmond City Council.


City hires former Richmond 300 project manager as the manager of new Office of Equitable Development

Maritza Mercado Pechin will serve as a Deputy Director within the Planning & Development Review Department and will manage the city’s new Office of Equitable Development.
Pechin formerly served as the project manager for the city’s master plan, Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth. In her new position and in leading the new office, she will focus on working across city departments to plan for and facilitate the creation of the more sustainable, beautiful and equitable city envisioned by Richmonders in the master plan.
“Richmond 300 is a roadmap for the Richmond we want to be after 300 years of tumultuous history,” said Mayor Stoney. “This office, under the leadership of a tested public servant and planning professional, will start us down that road.”
The office is housed under the Department of Planning and Development Review but will work laterally across the entire Planning and Economic and Community Development portfolio. This will allow office staff to coordinate and collaborate with staff citywide to realize the vision detailed in Richmond 300: A Guide for Growth.
Pechin will report directly to DCAO for Economic and Community Development Sharon Ebert and work closely with the Office of the CAO and Mayor.
“The process to create Richmond 300 was expansive and inclusive, and now, the fun of implementation begins. I am honored to join the city staff to execute the recommendations outlined in the plan so that Richmond 300 is truly a guide to creating a more equitable, sustainable, and beautiful Richmond, and not just a plan that sits on a shelf,” said Pechin. 
“Richmond 300 set a new bar for community engagement,” said Acting CAO Lincoln Saunders. “Establishing this office will enable the administration to work across department to build on that model, pursuing growth in an inclusive and equitable way.”
“I am delighted to be working with Maritza,” said DCAO Sharon Ebert. “Her expertise in planning, organizing and implementing inspired great confidence throughout the community engagement process for and writing of the Richmond 300 Plan.”


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